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July 14, 2009 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any experience with how to handle interviewing for a job while pregnant?

I'm about to apply for a job for which I am very qualified. The only problem is that I'm 8 months pregnant, and I'm not sure how to handle this. Hiding the pregnancy is absolutely not an option at this point, since I definitely look extremely pregnant. Is it a complete waste of time to even apply for a job? What's the best way to handle this? (I'm in the U.S., by the way, and the job is at a nonprofit with good employee policies and benefits).
posted by agent99 to Work & Money (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's always worth the interview, I'd think. if you're the right candidate, and they are the kind of company who will value you, they would hopefully hire you anyway.
posted by crickets at 1:30 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's never a waste of time to a job you want. You can't win if you don't enter.

One thing to keep in mind is that you don't have a handle on their own could be that they call you for an interview after you've been home with your newborn (congratulations!) for a month. I'm always shocked at how slow employers can be in filling vacancies.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:36 PM on July 14, 2009

What crickets said. They won't be legally permitted to ask you questions about your pregnancy, but you should think about and be prepared to offer details on your plans (will you take leave from your current job for a few months, then quit, and then start the new one in six months?) so that you can, if necessary, address their concerns immediately (if you are offered the job) or pre-emptively (if it seems appropriate and is an opportunity to show your flexibility and interest in working with them to find a way to accommodate you).
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:36 PM on July 14, 2009

Best answer: Since they can't ask about it, I would offer up information about your plans, pregnancy/baby/schedule-wise at the initial interview, if it seems like a place you'd actually want to work at once you start talking to them.
posted by booknerd at 2:06 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You're right...kinda. They can't ask about your pregnancy as if it the job you are interviewing for is dependent upon the answer.


"Hi Ms. blah blah, my name is blah blah. Oh, congratulations...when is the baby due?".
HR professionals are like 2 live crew; they're as nasty as they wanna be, and can ask all sorts of questions that are considered legal yet leading. If you don't believe me, ask yourself if during an interview you have ever been asked any of THESE questions.

The best way to handle this is to be upfont and earnest with them. If the organization is full of excellent benefits for employees (and is a not for profit), IN MY EXPERIENCE, that means they care for their workers.

You should say something along the lines of:

I am able to start on X-DATE. I will be delivering something around Y-DATE, and will be back to work on Z-DATE (if different from X-DATE). How does that factor in with your plans to hire something in this position, and what can I do to make this work?

THAT would be awesome, and will show your willingness to work with them.

I wish you the best of luck, and I'd appreciate it if you sent me a MeMail to tell me what happened during the interview.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:30 PM on July 14, 2009 [6 favorites]

I was once on the interview team for an applicant who was very pregnant. She discussed the coming baby, and her planned schedule, with us. She was well qualified for the job and we hired her (knowing that she'd take maternity leave shortly after starting, and willing to work around that).
posted by oceanmorning at 3:33 PM on July 14, 2009

hal_c_on: that's an awesome list.
posted by exhilaration at 3:48 PM on July 14, 2009

I'd not disclose pregnancy in the cover letter. If you go for an interview, bring it up right away. "You may have noticed that I'm about to have a baby. I promise not to go into labor during the interview. If this is the right job for me, I expect to be available to start date." Then continue the interview insouciantly. Many people have to give notice at a previous job, move, etc., so your time frame is probably manageable.
posted by theora55 at 4:02 PM on July 14, 2009

Just an anecdote: The hiring process for my current job took months, and they were okay with a start date a month after the offer letter was signed. If I were eight months pregnant (or a woman, for that matter) I'd have been ready to go back to work before my start date.

YMMV -- smaller companies that need to backfill quickly and/or can't manage the position being vacant might write you off. I'd just go for it, you can't know unless you try.
posted by cj_ at 5:08 PM on July 14, 2009

Another anecdote, also nonprofit: my old boss was offered her job while pregnant. She took three months off and then started the new job. My understanding was that she was very upfront with them during the interview process and it worked out well.
posted by lunasol at 7:03 PM on July 14, 2009

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